We demand a federal action that holds all officer-involved killings accountable.
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We Are Not All Protected Equally, and Equality Cannot Be Compromised
The goal for this petition is to provide a base of support for a policy initiative that makes regulating police brutality in the form of officer-involved deaths a priority during this election as well future elections. Criminal or Innocent, White or Black, Liberal or Conservative, the life of a person should not be taken lightly. We demand transparency and the swift justice on matters of officer-involved deaths.
We Aren't Telling the Full Story of Police Brutality
Our media and community leaders are often characterizing police brutality as a Black issue. But this is a crime that all races in America are victims to every year. As a result, many people are suffering, but only some of us feel the responsibility to act.
I have questions for all of you to consider:
What if our media and community leaders made police brutality an issue of police accountability and transparency rather than race?
What if the deaths of all races as a result of police killings were reported the same way as Black people?
Would we still want to debate the politics behind the protests, or would we want to talk about ways to hold officers more accountable to their actions?
Police Will Not Police Themselves Without Accountability Laws
The police will not police themselves, it is a conflict of interest that prioritizes political reputation and public perceptions over truth.
The Current Laws Do Not Hold Police Accountable
According to the "Police Misconduct Provision" , this law makes it unlawful for states or local law enforcement officers to engage in "a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States." (34 U.S.C. § 12601). The types of conduct covered by this law can include, among other things, excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, coercive sexual conduct, and unlawful stops, searches or arrests (34 U.S.C. § 12601).
As it clearly states, in order to be covered by this law, the misconduct must constitute a "pattern or practice" -- it may not simply be an isolated incident. The FBI had to waste time proving a "pattern" existed, when one death with a video evidence and eye witness accounts is all it takes for any citizen to be arrested on the spot.
By requiring federal action that requires an immediate FBI investigation on all cases of police-involved deaths, agencies and law enforcement will be forced to develop procedures that ensure rapid responses that result in greater performance overall. There will be no need to compel an action at every occurrence, or a need to prove a "pattern of misconduct." The lives of people should not be taken lightly.
The Longer We Wait to Act the More People Suffer
Days of inaction while a viral video of yet another Black body is spread across the world translates into days of escalating tension between protesters and local law enforcement. As a result, the current way our justice system addresses police brutality creates a hostile environment, whereby outraged citizens are being forced to engage in protests their local law enforcement. This exacerbates an already tenuous relationships at a time when tension is at its highest. How many cities must burn before we decide to address the core of the problem: A lack of federal oversight ensuring police accountability?
Politicians Will Not Act Without the Will of the People
Here is a report from the Congressional Research Institute:
Public Trust and Law Enforcement— A Discussion for Policymakers
In short, our Congress as of 2018 has access to information and potential strategies for police reform, the main problem is that it requires the support of the people, as the project will be expensive both politically and financially. We essentially need to modernize the police using body cameras and better reporting and prosecuting standards.
No politician will touch this policy unless they know that this is what the people are demanding. It is easier and cheaper for a candidate to run a campaign by race-baiting the issue rather than working with cops and local governments to implement solutions.
We must compel policy change by requiring equal police protection for all citizens. We are not all equally protected. Equality is non-negotiable.
Proposal- A Law Which Requires Immediate Federal Investigation and Granting Greater Prosecuting Authority on Officer-Involved Deaths.
We demand a proposed law or mandate that requires all officer-involved deaths to be IMMEDIATELY reported to and investigated by the FBI.
We advise the following policy conditions based on the Congressional Research report: Public Trust and Law Enforcement, A Discussion for Policymakers:
1. Placing conditions on federal funding to encourage law enforcement agencies to adopt policies that promote better community relations.
2. Expanding efforts to collect comprehensive data on the use of force by law
3. Providing grants to law enforcement agencies so they could purchase body-worn cameras for their officers.
4. Taking steps to facilitate investigations and prosecutions of excessive force by
amending 18 U.S.C. Section 242 to reduce the "burden of proof" standard in federal
prosecutions, or place conditions on federal funds to promote the use of special
prosecutors at the state level.
5. Funding Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants so law
enforcement agencies could hire more officers to engage in community policing
6. Updating the Arrest Related Deaths Report (ARD) to include questions pertaining to accountability standards based on the Congressional Research Report.
Choose Police Accountability as Your Priority this Election
We cannot allow the police to hold themselves accountable due to a conflict of interest noted by both scholarship and activists. And we cannot continue to expect Black people and concerned citizens to continue trying to police the police. This petition is to demand a policy change, and to hold any policymakers claiming to support Black lives accountable by requiring that they make progress towards this goal. If officer-involved deaths were properly reported and prosecuted, we would not have to see a city burns due to frustration and outrage over our justice system.
This November, we can ensure that this issue will not be ignored by either party's candidate by declaring that law enforcement in every state must provide equal protection or risk federal oversight. Please contact your local senators and house representatives. Inform them of this research. Let them know that they need to get to work in fixing our broken communities.
I ask that you please reach out to me, as I would love to share insights regarding this issue and our political environment.
Astin B. Cole
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